A few suggestions you may find helpful if you are traveling through multiple time zones include:
- Drink lots of water and limit your food intake during flight
- Get sun exposure when you land – in the morning if traveling west and in the morning if traveling east
- Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol during flight
- If possible, adjust your bedtime gradually before departure by going to bed 1 or 2 hours later (if traveling west) or 1 to 2 hours earlier (if traveling each) each day for a week
Looking to travel somewhere to spend the holidays? Make the most out of your vacation or family time by taking a few simple but important steps:
- Plan well in advance – this alone will help reduce stress. If flying, purchase tickets three to six months in advance to obtain optimal schedules and pricing. Take care to avoid high travel days whether flying or driving if at all possible (such as the Sunday after Thanksgiving). Hotel reservations should be made three or more months before travel as accommodations will be in high demand – some destinations should be even a year in advance. Make a checklist so you don’t overlook something as you get close to the busy holiday season.
- If flying for your holiday, save time and minimize frustration at airports by signing up for either TSA PreCheck (to expedite security screening for domestic travel) at www.tsa.gov or Global Entry (to expedite U.S. Customs and immigrations clearance for international travel) at www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply.
- Allow extra time while traveling during the holidays – on the road if driving, at train stations or at airports. If mailing holiday gifts, get to the post office early in the season and avoid long waiting lines.
- Pack smart. Plan what you really need to take with you and try to minimize luggage as trains and planes will be full and more luggage will likely be lost during the high holiday travel season. Make sure your identification is on all luggage, use only TSA locks and include a copy of your itinerary in your suitcase. Save space by shipping holiday gifts – if you do take some with you, leave them unwrapped as TSA may need to inspect them. Pack a change of clothes and healthy snacks in your carry-on bag if flying in case there is a travel delay or your luggage doesn’t arrive when you do.
- Stay healthy! Avoid ruining your trip by getting sick, so take some preventative measures before you leave. Get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, eat well and get enough fresh air and exercise. Also, carry some hand sanitizer with you.
If you travel frequently to the United Kingdom (or know someone who does), you may want to consider joining the UK’s new Registered Traveller Service (similar to our Global Entry). You must be 18 years or older, have an eligible passport, and have visited the UK at least four times in the last two years. Having this will eliminate the need for a landing card and expedite your arrival or connection time process. The cost for the first year is 70 GBP and 50 GBP per year thereafter. Interested? Go to: UK Registered Traveller. Please share this with your friends or colleagues.
Typically, people think of Australia when they think of a Down Under destination, but it also includes New Zealand and other smaller countries in the South Pacific. Naturally, seasons are opposite of the US and other countries in the northern hemisphere so this needs to be considered when traveling there.
Australia, approximately the size of mainland USA, has distinctive and varied climate zones and offers much diversity for travelers–from tropical beaches and subtropical regions in the north which is where the Great Barrier Reef is found, one of the world’s most famous diving sites. For those interested in cultural history, Australia is home to one of the oldest surviving cultural traditions with origins dating back 40,000 – 60,000 years. Vibrant cities reside primarily in the temperate regions to the south – such as Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and offer much to enjoy. And let’s not forget Australia’s delectable wines, with two major wine regions found in the temperate zone ready to explore! This beautiful and diverse country can be reached non-stop in 15 ½ hours from Los Angeles.
One of the primary reasons tourists are often targeted for robbery is because they are not paying attention to their surroundings or they look like a helpless tourist. Don’t fall victim to clever ploys by adults or children who approach you for help or with a question as they draw your attention away from guarding your wallet, purse or even money/passport belt. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t, so remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. They will move on to an easier target.
If you enjoy cruising, you may want to consider personalizing your cruise with private shore excursions or adding time before and/or after your cruise in or near your cities of embarkation and disembarkation. For example, a river cruise starting or ending in Budapest could be enriched by adding on additional time in Budapest as well as time in the countryside exploring its delicious wine region. Perhaps you share an interest with other enthusiasts such as biking, golf, cooking or wine-tasting and would enjoy traveling with them focusing on this interest? This is a perfect fit for a custom-designed itinerary to meet the needs of these travelers. Or, perhaps your extended family want to celebrate the holidays or a milestone anniversary while vacationing yet differing interests and ages need to be considered? There really is no limit to creating a journey that best achieves your travel goals.
Ever experience thinking you had some miles or points to use when you realized they had expired? There are easy ways to keep track of your various miles AND get notified in advance that they will be expiring. One of my favorite programs is called AwardWallet and is free. You might also want to consider TripIt which has a free and paid version.
Did you know that you can apply for a second US passport, and that the validity of it has recently been extended from two to four years? A second passport may be necessary if your foreign travel conflicts with needing to send your passport to a consulate office to obtain a visa for a different trip. Or, perhaps you intend to visit a country that won’t allow entry if your passport has been stamped or include visas from certain other countries. In either case, proof of intended travel must be shown. Call us today for assistance.
Steeped in tumultuous history with walled fortresses and intact remains of Roman palaces and amphitheaters, there is a lot to be discovered and enjoyed in Croatia. Its three major cities are very diverse and all should be included in your travels. The capital of Zagreb is filled with museums, outdoor markets, art galleries and has a world-class orchestra, with castles dotting the surrounding countryside. Split, a UNESCO treasure strategically located on the Dalmatian Coast, is a major ferry port and boasts a 1700 year-old Diocletian Palace that is still very much in tact today. The old town of Dubrovnik is like stepping back in time and has become a popular cruise port and is filled with restaurants, shops and an outdoor market.
An inland “must-see” venue to enjoy nature is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which offers much scenic beauty and a contrast to the major cities with its waterfalls and 16 lakes. This can be enjoyed on your way to another area of Croatia, but really warrants a few days to enjoy hiking, boating, swimming and much more. The peninsula of Istria offers great hiking, biking, wine tasting and truffles. Experiencing Croatia, however, requires getting out to some of the over 1000 islands. Regularly scheduled car ferries go to the major islands such as Hvar and Korcula (and also to the ports of Venice and Acona, Italy), but the best way is by private speed yacht or gullet boat, which gives you flexibility to visit a number of islands. Enjoy great swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing as well as great seafood and delicious local wines. If you enjoy fresh oysters, you can visit the oyster beds in Ston by small boat and dine on fresh oysters harvested and opened right in front of you!
Croatia is a good value compared to a lot of other destinations in Europe and is a safe destination with friendly, welcoming people. The ideal time to visit is May and early June or mid-September through October. Call us to find out how my host for a recent week-long visit, Leonidas Travel, can customize a journey to suit your interests and budget!